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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2006 February;58(1):55-62

language: English

Internationally adopted children: a new challenge for pediatricians

Cataldo F., Accomando S., Porcari V.

Maternal Infantile Department University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy


Children adopted from abroad by Italian families have increased during the last years. Since 2001 to 2004 they have been more than 10 000, mainly from Eastern Europe, and all indications suggest that they will continue to increase. Most of the internationally adopted children reside in orphanage before adoption where they may experience malnutrition, exposure to infectious diseases, environmental deprivation, neglect. Moreover, their preadoptive records are scarcely reliable and their immunization status is not always adequate. The most common long-term problems of internationally adopted children concern developmental and scholastic delay especially if they come from a long and severely deprived institutional setting, precocious puberty and, during adolescence, depressive disorders as well as antisocial behaviours. Intercountry adopted children are at increased risk for health and social problems and have to be recognized as a group of subjects requiring special medical attentions. Specialized centres for internationally adopted children where they could receive medical evaluations at arrival and a prolonged health follow-up should be set up.

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